Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Outcome of ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy for varicose veins: medium-term results assessed by ultrasound surveillance.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate medium-term success after a technique for ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy for superficial chronic venous disease.

DESIGN: A prospective study in a single unit with ultrasound surveillance after treatment.

MATERIALS: Results after 1189 treatment sessions for 807 venous saphenous veins and related tributaries or non-saphenous tributaries in 489 patients.

METHODS: Univariate life table analysis determined primary and secondary success rates. Multivariate Cox regression analysis detected covariates that affected outcome.

RESULTS: Primary and secondary success rates at 36 months for all veins were 52.4% (95%CI 46-58%) and 76.8% (95%CI 71-82%). Cox regression analysis for primary success for all veins showed significantly worse results for saphenous veins compared to tributaries (HR 3.72 - 95%CI 1.9 to 7.3). Cox regression for all saphenous veins showed independently worse results for patients less than 40 years age (HR 2.16 - 95%CI 1.27-3.66), small compared to great saphenous veins (HR 1.58 - 95%CI 1.11-2.24), veins greater than 6mm diameter compared to smaller veins (HR 2.22 - 95%CI 1.40-3.50), liquid compared to foam sclerotherapy (HR 2.20 - 95%CI 1.28-3.78), lower volumes of sclerosant compared to volumes greater than 12 ml (HR 0.51 - 95%CI 0.33-0.81) and highly diluted compared to concentrated sclerosant (HR 2.05 - 95%CI 1.21-3.46) with worse results using highly diluted or undiluted 3% sclerosant compared to a 1.5% concentration. There were no significant differences for primary success for saphenous veins for date of procedure, sex, side, primary or recurrent varicose veins, or commercial type of sclerosant.

CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy gives satisfactory results if it is accepted that treatment may need to be repeated to achieve secondary success. Results provide a basis for further research to explore factors that might affect outcome. Younger patients with larger diameter saphenous veins may warrant alternative forms of treatment, particularly for small saphenous reflux.

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